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Some 5,224 assessments for illness benefit and disability allowance have been undertaken this year, according to new figures provided to this newspaper. The figures run up to 26 June.
In 2018, there were 14,700 illness benefit and disability allowance medical assessments undertaken for continued entitlement to these schemes, a spokesperson for the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) told the Medical Independent.
“Following assessment, 781 illness benefit and 149 disability allowance payments were stopped.”
In terms of this year’s activity, the spokesperson said there were 5,224 assessments for illness benefit and disability allowance undertaken up until 26 June.
“Following assessment, 248 illness benefit and 376 disability allowance payments were stopped,” they added.
Meanwhile, the DEASP spokesperson said that a new recruitment drive for medical assessors will begin later this year.
“Currently, there are 33 medical assessors working in the medical review and assessment service. Following a recruitment competition in 2018, a panel of doctors is in place from which additional medical assessors are being drawn.
“A further medical assessors recruitment competition through the Public Appointments Service is planned for later in 2019.”
Medical assessment may be carried out to determine an individual’s continued eligibility to receive illness benefit or disability allowance. These assessments are undertaken by doctors in the cases of illness benefit claims. Illness benefits include disability and carers’ allowances, among other payments.
Medical assessors are qualified doctors whose role is to assess fitness for work and/or the degree of disability. According to the Department, they do not prescribe treatment nor offer advice to those they assess. Their medical role is specifically focused on these assessments.